The Laurel and Hardy of semolina breads

Well, it’s a been a bit of time since posting.  Last night I had itchy fingers to go back to a favorite but with a pair of twists.  My most-favored sesame semolina based on Mr. Hamelman’s 125% hydration AP flour version.  However this time I subbed out the levain for my old favorite 75% mixed flour levain.

As long as I maintain the same percent of preferment flour, switching things around like overall as well as levain hydrations is a breeze.  I also had the urge to make a Brobdignagian baguette/long batard to go along with one normal sized.  What could be normal than that?

1 x 1150g long batard/baguette, 1 x 375g long batard/baguette.

itch scratched!

And on to other recent things

I had a desire to start to learn croissants and laminated dough.  So…many iterations later, I have somewhat cured the itch and figured out many angles to greater success.

Starting with the still edible but quite problematic: poorly laminated with a lot of tearing and leakage, shaping issues, determination of “correct” size to make into the triangles, under-baked bottoms, etc.  And one by one, I started to incorporate a few different methods. With the help of watching a few videos over ad nauseam particularly Bien Manger.

I won’t go into too many details here, but settled on T45 pastry flour to cure minor elasticity problems and the T45 dough is also a tad smoother.  Went from 2% milk to powdered milk to whole milk.  Bought an appropriate large maple wood rolling pin 18 inches long.  Misunderstood that the 27 layers were not for the entire dough, but for the butter along, and so I needed to perform one more lamination step to get there.  Baby steps.  Much helped by my wife leaving town for a week so that I could spend a lot of time trying things out and searching for better methods and results.

At this point, if there are two remaining items to check off, the more important would be that I’m still seeing only the initial image of a honeycomb crumb.  The second is that without a sheeter, it is near impossible for me to roll the dough out so that it is consistently smooth and even along the entire length of the dough.  A sheeter would make life all the more easy, but I have neither the space nor desire to get one.  That would be lunacy for an apartment-based home baker.

Here you can see the start of something good.  However the number of laminations are incorrect.

Starting to get the hang of shaping but still have some consistency issues.

Much improvement on the layers of butter, now counting at 27.

These are now full sized and looking pretty good.  Still more work to do!

A  partial run of pain au chocolat.  Shy on the chocolate, I doubled up on the next run.

I also decided to use the same dough the next time to make pain aux raisins for the first time.  Also a first time for making pastry cream.  Pleased at both for a virgin bake.

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Post Author: MNS Master